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Wake turbulence category

The ICAO wake turbulence category (WTC) is entered in the appropriate single character wake turbulence category indicator in Item 9 of the ICAO model flight plan form and is based on the maximum certificated take-off mass, as follows:

  • J (Super) aircraft types specified as such in Doc 8643 (Aircraft type designators). At present, the only such type is the Airbus A380-800 with a maximum take-off mass in the order of 560 000 kg. (see Airbus A380 Wake Vortex Guidance)
  • H (Heavy) aircraft types of 136 000 kg (300 000 lb) or more (except those specified as J);
  • M (Medium) aircraft types less than 136 000 kg (300 000 lb) and more than 7 000 kg (15 500 lb); and
  • L (Light) aircraft types of 7 000 kg (15 500 lb) or less.

Variants of an aircraft type may fall into different wake turbulence categories, (e.g. L/M or M/H). In these cases, it is the responsibility of the pilot to enter the appropriate wake turbulence category indicator in the flight plan.